I believe in art. And I believe in the artists who create it. Nearly five years ago I began a journey to cultivate audiences for art, specifically the work of emerging photographers. By creating innovative programs that make art immediately and affordably accessible to new audiences, both online and through special events, my goal has been dual and consistent – to promote and develop the careers of talented, emerging, contemporary photographers and to educate and cultivate a new crop of collectors.
I believe in innovation and pushing the status quo in ways that benefit artists and create demand for their work. For example, through Jennifer Schwartz Gallery I created events like Walk Away With Art, ArtFeast, and Art Circle, giving photographers the opportunity to make personal connections with new audiences and giving would-be collectors an engaging experience around art. I have also been able to test a more flexible gallery model by showing photography in unique spaces that fit the work, creating excitement and energy around exhibitions. The online project The Ten gave photographers an outlet for creating unique work in limited editions and collectors an affordable, accessible entry to photography. Then having already created successful programs to bring people to art, I went on the road to bring art to the people through the Crusade for Collecting Tour.
I believe in making a difference, and I believe the best way to continue to do so is by funneling the programming and passion for creating demand for photography through Crusade for Art. Crusade for Art began as a website and a resource for photographers and has developed into a vibrant non-profit organization. Crusade for Art’s mission is to build artists’ capacity to create demand for their work. We do this in two ways: by educating and mentoring artists to higher levels of creative and professional development; and by incubating, through programs and advocacy, innovative solutions that connect artists with their audiences.
The ideas, successes, and experiences of Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, The Ten, and the Crusade for Collecting Tour have informed the mission and direction of Crusade for Art. The remainder of this year will be spent transitioning from a commercial model to one that better allows me to realize this mission. After nearly five years as a successful commercial gallery that not only showed work but also made an impact on the gallery culture both locally and nationally, Jennifer Schwartz Gallery will close at the end of the year in order to fully focus on creating demand for art on a larger scale through Crusade for Art. While maintaining some of the most important aspects of JSG – promoting and developing the careers of photographers and cultivating collectors – I must cease the commercial components which conflict with the mission and activities of Crusade for Art, a non-profit entity.
I am best known for being a champion and advocate for photographers, especially those who are at the beginning of their careers. I am known for being passionate about the ways individual artists can advocate for themselves and for creating ideas and programs to help them find the people who will best appreciate their work. I am known for being someone who does not just complain about a problem with the current art hierarchy, but someone who actively tries to create a more sustainable arts ecology – openly sharing successes and failures with equal parts laughter and tears and a whole lot of heart.
I am thrilled to bring you Crusade for Art, which will not only talk about ideas, but also make them happen. By inspiring, mentoring, teaching, and funding, Crusade for Art will empower artists to focus on creating demand for art and thereby encourage systemic changes to create a new crop of art lovers, patrons, and collectors.